communication

Small Talk to Real Talk: 5 Ways to Get Him to Open Up

 

iStock-516655374 copy.jpgIf you are dating a strong and silent type, a shy guy, or someone with a more reserved personality, the conversation aspect of the date might not flow as smoothly as the underlying chemistry.

 

To draw him out if his shell and get the conversation flowing, try these five tips:

 

Tip #1: Assume a ‘listener’ stance

 

Square up, make eye contact, and maintain open body language. Make sure your phone is off the table. Being fully present is the clearest invitation that you’re ready to listen. Once the conversation starts flowing, pivot to active listening. Nodding, smiling, summarizing, and asking questions are the best ways to show that you’re interested.

 

Tip #2: Set the example

 

If you’re looking for someone to let their guard down, you should be ready to go first. Mutual disclosure is the foundation for real intimacy—and it can start as early as the first date. Encourage him to trust you and share more about himself by openly discussing yourself. The more comfortable you are revealing your shortcomings or not so stellar moments, the more comfortable he’ll feel doing the same.

 

Tip #3: Come ready with questions that are easy to answer—and ask them the right way.

 

To make preliminary conversations easier on both of you, ask questions about non-controversial, easy topics. Your best bets? Think food, movies, and music. Everyone has an opinion on each of these, and you’ll find that these topics are great spring boards into other topics.

 

THIS WORKS:

You: Glad we’re trying this new Italian place. What kinds of food do you like?

Date: I try to keep it healthy and stick to organic produce exclusively.

You: Have you tried any of the grocery delivery apps?

 

The conversation is naturally pivoting away from food and could move in a variety of directions. You’re giving him a chance to talk about cooking, shopping, using technology, startups, etc.

 

With your questions, be mindful about your bias which could make your date feel uncomfortable sharing an unfiltered perspective.

 

TOO MUCH BIAS :

You: Just had great wine in Napa. What is your favorite winery?

Date: I don’t drink.

You: —

 

Understandably, a question that can be answered with a yes or no isn’t going to have the legs that an open ended question would, but the real problem here is that there’s too much pressure to answer the question a certain way. This nuance, however slight, can make conversation that much harder for both of you.

 

Tip #4: Choose the right activity

 

De-pressurize any first date by picking something more active than the traditional coffee or cocktails focused date. Take a walk through a nearby park, browse the shops on the same street, or try a museum exhibit. Walking can make talking easier, especially when you’re walking around things or places to talk about.

 

If you’d like to get more creative, try a new experience together. Giving yourselves a new skill to learn or an event to attend will alleviate a lot of pressure to make constant conversation.

 

Tip #5: Ask for help

 

Asking for a little favor will encourage your date to invest just a little bit more emotion into you and the date experience. Try asking for something small like, “Could you double check that the restaurant has veggie options?” Or, “Can you tell me where I should take my parents when they visit? I need a list. ” As we mentioned before, the Benjamin Franklin Effect—a principle that explains why a person who has performed a favor for someone is more likely to do another favor for that person—is a good way to establish connection early on.

 

Remember, relationships unfold at their own pace. It’s natural to want more information about the person who interests us, but never at the sake of their discomfort. Do your best not to take your date’s lack of openness personally; their desire and ability to communicate is part of who they are and not a reflection of your conversational skills.

 

If you desire date coaching to help get you ready for summer, contact our founder Amy at: amy@linxdating.com  Amy can give you some simple skills to help you succeed in love!

 

Does He Think You’re the One? 7 Signs that Point to Yes

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You meet and there’s chemistry. Real chemistry. You are starting to fall hard, but ghosts from relationships—and flings—of the past prompt you to ask: “Is this serious infatuation or could this be real?”

 

Instead of spending energy trying to figure out what he means, look for behaviors that reveal investment. If these signs apply to your current relationship, chances are he thinks you’re the one or, at the very least, a serious contender.

 

  1. He wants everyone to meet you.

He’s excited to incorporate you into his world, and that starts with meeting the main characters. You are meeting friends, family, coworkers and anyone else who knows your partner well. You’ll notice that many of them have been looking forward to meeting you. If he’s aiming to build a life together, he wants start building memories with the people who matter most. He feels proud to stand next to you and he wants his social circle to see what a wonderful person you are!

 

  1. He talks future plans—especially holidays.

Any nod to future plans is a good sign, but if it’s summer and he’s already discussing Christmas logistics, he’s smitten. Holidays give people two major excuses to be apart—family and extensive travel. If he’s ignoring the implications of both to include you, he values your time, your company, and the long term potential of your relationship.

 

  1. He handles your down moments.

This sign goes beyond his willingness to to see you in all of your forms—this sign is about YOU. Are you able to fall apart in front of this person and know that his opinion of you won’t change? If so, he’s giving you a gift that is beyond weathering occasional storms; he’s showing you that he offers unconditional support—a strong indicator that he’s in it for the long haul.

 

  1. He says “we”

When his decision evolves from “best for me” to “best for us”, he is subconsciously showing that you are part of bigger plans that extend beyond the present. In this case, “we” is more than just a pronoun, it’s his way of saying “you are a part of me.” As the relationship progresses, you’ll notice that questions directed to him are answered with “we”, because in his mind, most of the plans include you. We means he is “facing forward” into the future and seeing both of you as a unit.

 

  1. He wants to learn you.

He’s not only curious about what makes you tick, he’s interested in showing you that he’s absorbing the information. So, you love coffee. Does he know a coffee run is in order before Sunday’s errands? If you can’t join the coffee run, does your coffee come back with the right ratio of milk and sugar? Although seemingly small, these gestures speak volumes about his desire to learn you and your routines. At the end of the day, he wants to make you happy.

 

  1. He lets you in.

Emotional intimacy starts with vulnerability, and he’s willing to get vulnerable with you. Since some men struggle with expressing their feelings, the emphasis is on his willingness. If you ask the hard questions, he will work with you on answering them—even if that means visiting a counselor or therapist. Emotional bonds are much harder to break than their physical counterparts. If he’s serious about growing with you, you’ll be strengthening both types of attachment.

 

  1. You never wonder if he thinks you’re the most interesting person in the room.

In a crowded room, he always seems to be aware of how you’re doing; you have an ability to sense each other. Maybe it’s the way he encourages you to share your personality. Maybe it’s the way he knows what you’re thinking without any words at all. Whatever it is, you know you’re with someone who reads you and enjoys the story you tell.

 

If you’re dating someone and he hasn’t started to exhibit any of these “signs”,  give him a chance and don’t give up too soon. Everyone arrives to the dating game with their own history, set of experiences and expectations. It’s impossible to know what’s going on in his head but by giving him some time, you can closely watch his behavior and see if he’s the man for you or you’re meant to be moving on.

You can always email our founder Amy at: amy@linxdating.com and ask her dating advice in a confidential manner.

Happy Spring, happy dating….XO

 

 

eComm 101

Written by: Linx staff Michael Normangay-feature

The past week has involved a lot of conversations about how people communicate while dating, and nearly all of those conversations have been about some form of frustration with hearing – and not hearing – from a date. Amy and I have heard complaints about frequency (both too much and too little) concerns about content (both too formal and too familiar) and timing (as in “Isn’t this a little too soon?” and also “Who sends a text at that hour?”) A good friend of mine insists that if you’re seeing someone who’s really into you, there’s no wrong way or bad time to contact a love interest, but given my own recent frustrations with a Poor Communicator, I’d have to disagree. Since the object of my affection is currently bedridden on the East coast in a fin de siècle-style typhoon of influenza, salmonella, and some other viral/bacterial pestilence that is likely the result of too much time spent in airplanes and not enough time spent asleep, I’m letting him off the hook for now. But for everyone else, here’s a refresher on communicating in a mobile and hyperconnected age… sometimes it’s still hard for me to believe that as a teenager, I actually had to be in my bedroom in order for someone to call me.

Control Your Text Drive….

Text is, by far, the easiest form of communication to abuse. It is also, unfortunately, one of the most dangerous. No matter how many emoticons you throw at your date, text messages are meant to be brief, and that brevity tends to make it very hard to understand any suggestion of tone or nuance contained therein. So don’t assume any particular tone or nuance was properly conveyed. Between people who hardly know each other (in other words, with someone you’re newly dating) texts should really only be used to convey facts. You should only use a text to send an address, to let someone know you’re running late, to convey a change in plans, etc. You should use a text to tell someone you’re standing outside, to tell him you’ve claimed a table at the bar, or to let her know your flight just landed. But use text messages sparingly when dating, and only use them to convey information that cannot be misunderstood. If you absolutely must use texts to say something other than “I’m wearing a blue sweater, gray plaid pants, and Prada loafers,” limit yourself to “I had a really great time last night and I can’t wait to see you again.” A text to someone new shouldn’t include words like “sometime”, “possibly” or “maybe.” Ever.
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Know Your Audience…

Some people love attention; they crave daily texts and phone calls. Some women love it when a guy showers them with text messages, and calls them “Baby” or “Sweetie” after a first date, and some men consider any contact at all between dates to be unnecessary and superfluous… and never the twain shall meet. Most of us are right in the middle, but regardless of where we stand, we all tend to assume that our dates should feel the same way that we do; after all, how could our own stance be anything but reasonable, and assuming we are attracted to reasonable people, should they not feel exactly the same way about how to communicate? It turns that’s not always the case. i-didnt-text-you-jack-daniels-did

When I look at my own relationship, for example, I know that Mr. Poor Communicator literally buries his head in work, spends more than 100 hours a week on his company, and often falls asleep on his couch in positions that are doing permanently bad things to his neck. When we see each other, he is fully focused on being with me, and does an excellent job of blocking out the rest of the world. But when we’re not together, I become a victim of that very same focus. For him, taking the time to call or even text me is just a distraction from the work he needs to finish in order for us to actually be together in person. What he doesn’t understand (because really, when do you bring something like this up?) is that I’m an only child, and my mother used to punish me with days on end of silent treatment, so when I don’t hear from someone I care about – no matter how well I might be able to grasp the underlying intellectual rationale for that silence – I eventually start to feel like I’ve done something wrong or disappointed them. Obviously, it’s important that I figure out a way to convey to him some portion of this.

If you’re in a new relationship or feel like there’s a disconnect in the communication style in your current one, this can be a really important thing to address. And it’s really critical to focus on how you feel, rather than to try to place blame or cast yourself as a victim. For example, I can explain to my guy that “When I don’t hear from someone I care about for a long period of time, I start to worry that I have offended or disappointed that person,” or I can say, “When you ignore me, you make me feel bad about myself.” One of those is likely to elicit an empathetic response and lead to a compromise that deepens the relationship, while the other could just as easily lead to a breakup. Since I don’t want a breakup, it’s really important that I focus on my feelings and my experience and that I give him the chance to be empathetic. If you would also like a compromise and a healthy change in your relationship, then you should give your companion the chance to understand your experience, too.

If you have the opposite problem of hearing from someone too frequently, you can take the approach of saying “I really like you. In the past, I had the tendency to move way too quickly in relationships, and it’s important for me to move slowly. I’m comfortable texting a couple of times a week at this point. That obviously will change as we get to know each other better.” Too often, we tell people what’s “wrong” with their behavior instead of simply expressing to them our needs, expectations, or boundaries. The truth is that there’s usually nothing “wrong” with their behavior; but that doesn’t mean it’s right for us. So have the conversation about what works best for you. Get to know your audience; I hope to be following my own advice as soon as he regains the 9 pounds he lost last week and can actually get on a plane again.

Work on Your Timing…

With travel and time zones playing such big roles in everyone’s lives, it’s really important to pay attention to where you are on the map… and to how far away your love interest happens to be. While you may be counting the days or hours until you can see him or her again, you should also really be counting the hours (on the clock) that separate you. If you leave the country, know what time it is before you text someone; there is nothing more frustrating that getting a 4am “Just saying hey from Seoul” text message, especially if your job requires that you leave your phone on overnight because someone’s life might depend on it. Be respectful of the life and career of the person you’re dating. We all know that traveling for work brings with it a tremendous amount of loneliness and boredom, but you want to be sure that you’re met by excitement – rather than frustration – when you return. An occasional mistake is bound to happen if you’re an avid texter, but if you do regular long haul travel for work, trade in your texts for emails. But if you’re somehow restricted to your phone and you still insist on texting, you can keep yourself out of trouble by sending all of those texts to… an email address.1C6005838-rosagolijan28FA413D-7FBA-FDD4-0A61-331979C22A42.blocks_desktop_medium

With so communication tools at our disposal, it can be hard to know the right tool to use in the right way with the right man or woman, so it’s important to use the oldest tools at our disposal – our mouths and ears – and actually ask about these topics in person when we have the chance. It turns out that in a wired (and increasingly wireless) world, that we’re all wired a little bit differently, so don’t assume that you and your date are automatically going to operate on the same wavelength. Dating is about getting to know someone, and that requires communicating, so you should actually be motivated to figure out the most efficient way to do it. In fact… the sooner you figure out the best way to communicate, the sooner you can start building a real relationship.

What is the MSRP of Love?

Blog written by: Linx staff member, Michael NormaniStock_000026905091Small
If you’ve ever considered hiring a matchmaker, you’ve probably asked yourself (or been asked by someone else) how valuable a fulfilling relationship might actually be to you. The very idea of a cost-benefit analysis on emotional intimacy seems clinical and counter-intuitive, but it turns out that you really can quantify the upside of being in a happy relationship. In fact, the team at Happify.com has done just that, along with giving us a quick and easy infographic that tells us A LOT about the communication styles of happy couples. How does your communication style measure up against that of these dynamic duos? Do your expectations about sex, communication, and intimacy align with what seems to be a recipe for romantic success?

Even as a single person, you can improve your outlook on life and your approach to intimacy to set yourself up for the best possible outcome in your next relationship; you can practice compromising, defusing tension with humor, and sharing new experiences with the people in your life right now, be they colleagues, friends, or family members. Everyone knows that even the best relationships take work, but it’s staggering to see just how valuable a happy relationship can be.

So what’s the value of a happy relationship? According to happify.com, it’s a surprising $105,000 per year, which makes your Linx membership seem like both a bargain AND a wise investment (we’re assuming that’s untaxed income, of course.) And for those of you on the fence about whether or not you should be investing more in your professional or personal lives right now, maybe you should ask yourself if your next promotion is likely to come with a six-figure raise.

For more information, check out the infographic here.

If you don’t have time to visit the site, you might still want to know that the happiest couples have sex 2-3 times a week, that they both have college degrees, and that in those couples (take note, ladies) the man is definitely employed.

And what is the science behind why people marry? Happify.com shares 93% of American couples share they married for ‘love’, while 87% said they married for ‘making a lifelong commitment’, 81% said ‘companionship’, 59% said ‘having children’, and 31% said ‘financial stability.’ So what’s your reason for desiring love and marriage?